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Mrs. Sherlock Holmes

3.22  ·  Rating details ·  3,146 ratings  ·  634 reviews
This is the shocking and amazing true story of the first female U.S. District Attorney and traveling detective who found missing 18-year-old Ruth Cruger when the entire NYPD had given up.

Mrs. Sherlock Holmes tells the true story of Grace Humiston, the lawyer, detective, and first woman U.S. District Attorney who turned her back on New York society life to become one of the
Hardcover, 432 pages
Published January 3rd 2017 by St. Martin's Press
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Sandra Latzer Fascinating biography of an amazing woman, far ahead of her time, who became a lawyer, then a detective and investigated crimes against women in early…moreFascinating biography of an amazing woman, far ahead of her time, who became a lawyer, then a detective and investigated crimes against women in early 1900’s.

Kat Khell I think it may have been a wink to the possibility of a broader sort of interconnected web of events, a possible conspiracy if you will. If Cocchi…moreI think it may have been a wink to the possibility of a broader sort of interconnected web of events, a possible conspiracy if you will. If Cocchi came in to the country that way and managed to escape it would show him to be a devious sort of character...(less)

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3.22  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,146 ratings  ·  634 reviews

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Jan 15, 2017 rated it it was ok
I feel rather like the victim of a bait-and-switch con. Was drawn to this as it promised to be a biography of a talented woman, ahead of her time and largely unknown today with a Sherlock Holmes twist. Wrong. This turned out to be a dissatisfying, unfocused 'creative non-fiction' book full of rambling, tedious detail in which the central character, Grace Humiston, one of the first female lawyers and crusader for the poor and immigrants, faded in an out of the reader's view while the author showe ...more
Heidi The Reader
Nov 16, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: history, non-fiction
In the era before women could vote, an extraordinary detective and lawyer was solving crimes the police couldn't and defending those who couldn't afford it. Her name was Grace Humiston and this is her story.

Grace was admitted to the bar in the state of New York in 1905, becoming one of only a thousand female lawyers in the whole United States. pg 29

Readers, this lady was incredible. Though she fell out of public favor later in her career, Grace accomplished so much. She was the first woman to be
Feb 13, 2017 rated it it was ok
Overall this book disappointed me; however, I am conflicted about how to rate it because I found the story itself very interesting, and there were parts that I really got into. I'd say 2.5 stars. The first quarter of the book dragged, the middle picked up a lot and was really good, and the end dragged again. This felt similar in theory to an Erik Larson book, but it wasn't as well written/captivating. The author sometimes focused on very minute details that he obviously came across during his re ...more
Aspects of this book were fascinating but ultimately it suffered from a meandering lack of focus. The story of Ruth Cruger and Grace's investigation of her disappearance, as well as the story of some of Grace's early cases, was very interesting, but after that the story just wandered. There were points in there somewhere, but not clearly stated or followed up on. I liked the first half but it devolved into being just ok.
Hannah Pilley
Dec 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I couldn't put this book down! It grabbed me from page one. For a non-fiction book, it was very well written and even felt like fiction (by it's flow and pace) at times. The story of Mrs. Grace Humiston was one I had never heard of before reading this book, and I was extremely impressed by her life, and the strides she made. I would definitely recommend this to anyone, even those who may not normally read non-fiction.
joyce g
Sep 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Remarkable and inventive factual story of an amazing woman ahead of her time.
Paul Brannan
Feb 08, 2017 rated it it was ok
The truth about Grace Humiston is in there somewhere, hidden amid a jumbled farrago of facts, half-truths and innuendo. There's lots of focus on the cases she undertook, very little on the woman herself, which is a shame, she's a great subject. Here's a woman who was brave, tenacious, smart and ready to challenge authority and prejudice wherever it was met. In the telling, veracity is sacrificed to readability - it's more crime novel than fact-gathering non-fiction. The author states the book's ...more
Jan 26, 2017 rated it it was ok
Someone called this book a "bait-and-switch", and they're absolutely correct. The story itself was absorbing, but the writing was childish--I felt at certain points as though I was reading a picture book for adults--and the book really has very little to do with Sherlock Holmes apart from the introduction, which felt tacked on. This wasn't a particularly good biography and the missing girl case was only a part of the book's focus. I can't honestly recommend this to anyone.
Biblio Files (takingadayoff)
Dec 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
Mrs. Sherlock Holmes was a real person, a lawyer named Grace Humiston who practiced in New York City, specializing in defending clients who didn't have money or influence and often were immigrants who had a slippery grasp of English let alone the New York legal code. In true Perry Mason form, her cases often involved her having to solve a mystery in order to find justice.

The main story of the narrative is that of the disappearance of Ruth Crueger from her New York neighborhood in 1917. She was o
Dec 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Although it was evident to me from the beginning that this book was very well researched, I felt annoyed with the author in the first pages because of his style to tell the story. Ricca knows incredibly well the topic of his book. He "sees" the scene going on in front of his eyes, and his style is in part to describe this scene to the reader. Then the reader will find many observations like these (no spoilers):

"Christina coughed, steaming up the window again."

"His voice seemed like it was start
Jul 18, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: history, feminism
Grace Humiston was for a time known as "Mrs. Sherlock Holmes," a detective who had risen to near the top of the U.S. Department of Justice in the early 1900s, shone light on slavery rings and was a near-constant newspaper presence as she shamed the NYPD in her resolution of the nationally notorious disappearance of a young woman from the streets of Manhattan. Brad Ricca here dives deep in telling her story – too deep at times, as he spends pages faithfully transcribing tangentially related detai ...more
Jan 11, 2017 rated it liked it
This book was very captivating, but very uneven, too. The first half built up the story so well, but then after the mystery was revealed, I felt it really fell flat and rambled on for another hundred pages or so. I feel that I didn't get a full story of either Grace or Ruth (or any of the other dozen interesting characters that were introduced and not quite fully explored.... in fact, by the end, I had a hard time keeping track and the epilogue wasn't much help). Most of the writing was good, bu ...more
Feb 15, 2017 rated it it was ok
I skimmed a fair amount when it became repetitive or seemed purposeless. With more editing this might have been better.
A really interesting book about a brilliant woman ahead of her time. This book is part about a woman called Grace Humiston and part a story about a missing young female skater Ruth Cruger. This book is their story. I really liked the way the author has written this book. It tells about Grace Humiston professional life and how she came to be known as Mrs.Sherlock Holmes.
Beth Hutfilz
Feb 11, 2017 rated it did not like it
I could not finish this book. The premise sounded fantastic (I am a huge Sherlock fan!) but the story line seemed to jump around, and it was just too difficult to read! I was vastly disappointed!
I enjoyed the story of the impressive MC in this story, Mrs. Grace Humiston. She was an exceptional woman, as a detective and a lawyer and the first woman U.S. district attorney in history. She fought corruption at every turn, fought for women's rights and investigated white slavery.
Aug 28, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: book-club, dnf
DNF for me.

I don't like the switch back from 1905 to 1917.
I don't get why the Cruger case is being highlighted in excruciating detail - other things she's done sound more interesting.
I can't even follow which name she's using, & in which time period.

Perhaps I'll revisit this, but right now it's not for me.
Aug 05, 2018 rated it liked it
It's been a long journey. Four months

Err.. 2 and a half really.

It was an extremely well-researched novel. Even though the author likely did use his imagination at some points to fill in the blanks.

The story-telling was pretty good. I was a little confused in the beginning given how it kept going back and forth. But it got better by the middle but then my interest declined towards the end.
Dec 07, 2017 marked it as only-if-kindle-price-lowers-to-reas  ·  review of another edition
$14.99 for an e-book? Publishers have lost their minds. No wonder their e-book sales tank when they set their prices so unrealistically high for an digital copy.

It's almost like they don't want them to sell. Or, they think consumers are idiots.
Apr 28, 2018 rated it liked it
A fun paced book about a lady who solved a crime through sheer determination in 1917. I liked the book despite the hero worship of the author who gave a scant account of her 2 divorces.
Martin L. Cahn
Jun 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Absolutely fascinating story. I can't quite give it a full 5 stars -- in fact, it might really be more like a 3.75 -- but only because of a few quibbles.

First, the good: If you're looking for a mix of biography and true crime, this is an excellent book, reading more like a novel than an historical account. Because of that, I see some people have given lower ratings feeling as though the author has "cheated" somehow. I'll just say I do not feel that way.

As for my quibbles, they center on two thin
Jan 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Highly recommended. This book kept me up all night can't stop reading. Very well written. Wonder why such story have not come across Nancy Drew or Sherlock Holmes himself...
I don't know what I was expecting going into this book but it was most definitely not what I was reading!! I thought this would be more crime based and told a true story of a woman getting ahead in a mans world by solving murders. But this lost my interest fast!!! It has a great promise and could have went way better than it did. Just the thought of a woman back in the 1800s doing a job better than a man can is a great way to snag a lady's attention. Back in them days woman held their tongue and ...more
Mar 09, 2019 rated it liked it
This was a really absorbing read about one of the first woman attorneys in the country who went on to do detective work and influenced public policy. Her passion was always what we now call human trafficking. This massive book was painstakingly reconstructed from old newspaper accounts, newsreels and so forth, bringing to life a woman who would have been utterly forgotten otherwise. I finished it just as Women's History Month was starting; how perfect is that?
Jun 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is just excellent. I learned about Grace Humiston through the TV show "Timeless" and wanted to find out more about her. I learned so much from this book! I really recommend it! If you normally read non-fiction, you'll love it, but even people who don't read non-fiction would like this book -- it really sucks you in and you'll feel like you are reading a novel. There are so many fascinating stories about Grace's life and career, it's truly amazing all the things she accomplished with he ...more
Sep 23, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: true-crime
This is the true story of Mary Grace Quackenbos Humiston the first female Special Assistant United States Attorney. She graduated law school when women did not generally attend and set about helping the impoverished especially the immigrants in her community get a fair shake from the law. Her most famous case was the disappearance of Ruth Cruger in 1917. Police searched the basement of Alfredo Cocchi and found nothing which caused the case to grow cold. When Grace found a way to search the basem ...more
Mar 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was an excellent read--Ricca has a talent for brining history to life (I hope he writes more books like this). It was so interesting to read Grace's story. It's rare to read about an accomplished woman from this era. The part about the soldiers camp was a little baffling, but I guess that's the reality of Grace's career going downhill.
Rebecca McPhedran
Mary Grace Quackenbos Humiston was a real badass. She was a lawyer and investigator in New York City during the early twentieth century. She worked tirelessly for the poor immigrants of New York, and investigated white slavery in the deep south.
She is most widely known for her investigation into the death of Ruth Cruger, who disappeared one February afternoon after getting her skates sharpened at a local motorcycle shop. Grace was the one who found the body, almost 6 months after Cruger's disap
Ray Palen
Feb 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
I am a pure Holmesian who reads pretty much anything about Sherlock Holmes I can get my hands on. That being said, I approached this novel with trepidation as I rarely approve of roles in books I love being recast or reimagined. You can just guess how I felt about a 'female' Sherlock Holmes.

The comparison to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's sleuth is merely in the form of comparison. This novel is based on Mrs. Grace Humiston who wa a special civilian investigator assisting the NYPD in the early 1900's
Apr 09, 2019 rated it it was ok
is this supposed to be a biography of Grace Humiston? A dramatized telling of the murder of Ruth Cruger? A look at white slavery/forced prostitution in the early 1900s? The abuse of immigrants and peonage in the early 1900s?
This books is really jumbled and unfocused and it's unfortunate because any of these topics would have made a fascinating book. Grace lived an amazing life and i'd love to learn more about her and her career. The circumstances surrounding Ruth's death has a lot to unpack (so
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Brad Ricca is the author of Mrs. Sherlock Holmes: The True Story of New York City's Greatest Female Detective and the 1917 Missing Girl Case That Captivated a Nation (St. Martin's, 2017). He is also the author of Super Boys, winner of the 2014 Ohioana Book Award in Nonfiction, winner of a 2014 Cleveland Arts Prize for Emerging Artist in Literature, and a Booklist Top 10 Book on the Arts. He is als ...more